How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
A fool from HK
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How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by A fool from HK » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:37 am

Hi Friends,

I have been meditating for a year since I became a theravada buddhist. I practice regularly at least 40 to 45 minutes per day. But the pain issue is still bothering me. Is there any suggestion?

Thanks!

SarathW
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by SarathW » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:58 am

Hi HK friend
Please to hear that you are continuing with your practice.
I am still trying to overcome the problems associate with pain.

With the little knowledge I have this is what I suggest to you.
Pain can be used as a meditation object.
Feeling is one of the four Satipathanas.
What I think is we should be able to bare the pain to a point, it will be ceased.
The pain is subject to birth and death, hence it is impermanence.

The following link may some help.

Seven Days without pain killers.

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 6532&hilit" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

A fool from HK
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by A fool from HK » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:27 am

SarathW wrote:Hi HK friend
Please to hear that you are continuing with your practice.
I am still trying to overcome the problems associate with pain.

With the little knowledge I have this is what I suggest to you.
Pain can be used as a meditation object.
Feeling is one of the four Satipathanas.
What I think is we should be able to bare the pain to a point, it will be ceased.
The pain is subject to birth and death, hence it is impermanence.

The following link may some help.

Seven Days without pain killers.

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 6532&hilit" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thanks!
But sometimes the pain arise very fast. If I sit on the floor without a cusion, it usually arise within 20 minutes, and then the mind cannot remain still.
A monk from the forest tradition told me that if I could sit for 2 hours, the pain will disappear. He also said the pain is the 1st barrier to overcome. And I feel stressed everytime I meditate and fail to overcome the barrier.

SarathW
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by SarathW » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:38 am

I can agree with this monk even though I do not sit for two hours or do not have the experience he got.
When I start meditation pain used to arise within 15 minutes.
Now I can sit for about 30 to 45 minutes.
Try to break the barrier by few minutes at a time.
The most important thing is not to worry about your progress.
Buddhist meditation is not a becoming activity but an activity of understanding the Dhamma.
If you have pain understand the pain first.
Do not consider the pain as your enemy but consider pain as your best friend.
:)
PS: I think you should do some Yoga exercise. A very good instruction video was posted in Dhamma wheel. I can't find the link.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Wri
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by Wri » Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:28 pm

There is some pain that needs to be avoided, such as knee pain and severe back pain, because if you try and just allow that, you'll end up with chronic joint problems later in life. If you experience these things, experiment with different postures in sitting meditation; there are many and they're all equally effective if they are comfortable for you. You can also do walking meditation! And in the end, everything you do throughout the day should be a meditation.

That being said, if you have some minor discomforts and this is what gets your mind distracted, you can try to mentally allow whatever discomfort to arise without mental resistance. Honestly, pain isn't what's uncomfortable, but it's the panic reaction and resistance we have to it. Pain is just a signal to alert you. Usually what we do is panic, get anxious, and get tense, which is what is uncomfortable.

Best wishes!
Keep your mind steady and rest within the winds of experience.
May I show unconditional love to all beings.

soapy3
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by soapy3 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:21 pm

A fool from HK wrote:Hi Friends,

I have been meditating for a year since I became a theravada buddhist. I practice regularly at least 40 to 45 minutes per day. But the pain issue is still bothering me. Is there any suggestion?

Thanks!
First, when in doubt stop the pain. You can always go back next time if you don't injure yourself.

Proper posture takes care of most back pain. Hip bone rolled slightly forward, spine "pulled up", head not dropped down, mild arch in your lower back preserved -- in a relaxed way.

Read meditation books, there are variety of approaches for dealing with pain. Some work for some people, others for others.

The most effective for me has been approaching meditation with the attitude that it is a relaxation exercise.

Your mileage may vary.

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Zom
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by Zom » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:29 pm

No need to sit with pain. Just do another kind of meditation, not a sitting one.
Any advice concerning "sitting with pain" I consider to be harmful. You will develop aversion to meditation this way - and nothing more than that (no matter how hard or how skilfully you try to "deal" with pain).

If you think you necessarily need very long period of sitting meditation to reach some deeper meditative state - this is wrong. Several short sessions one-by-one can lead to the same result.

:coffee:
Last edited by Zom on Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

santa100
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by santa100 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:40 pm

Might want to check your sitting posture again. A correct form should allow one to sit comfortably for 40-45 minutes. It's advisable to rest your buttock on some cushion so that it's a few inches higher than your knees. This would give better blood circulation in the lower body. The 2 knees should touch the ground and together with the buttock will be like 3 vertices of a triangle. Some side view images here might give the idea, notice the buttock should rest on the edge of the cushion, not the center. An alternative is to get those wooden meditation bench from Amazon.com and sit in the Japanese style. The bench would also help keep the buttock a few inches higher than the knees..

dhammarelax
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:46 pm

A fool from HK wrote:Hi Friends,

I have been meditating for a year since I became a theravada buddhist. I practice regularly at least 40 to 45 minutes per day. But the pain issue is still bothering me. Is there any suggestion?

Thanks!
If you are sitting on the floor try a comfortable couch , I sit almost daily for 2 hours at a time and one of the reasons I get up is the pain but I try to maximize the comfort, I sit on a bed, I have a pillow on my back maybe 30 cm high, I put a pillow under every leg also to minimize the pressure. Anyway in the higher jhanas body dissapears so it is not that bad, my longest siting was 4 hours and half on a comfy couch without crossing legs, it was a great session so I would try also to seat without crossing legs.

Smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:16 pm

Some good advice above about avoiding injury due to incorrect posture. If you practise walking meditation before sitting pain may be less likely to arise, and easier to bear because the mind is less distracted.

See also this advice by Chanmyay Sayādaw on Pain and Patience, and this by Sayādaw U Paṇḍita on Patience and Perseverance and Courageous Effort.
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A fool from HK
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by A fool from HK » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:22 am

Thanks for everyone!
santa100 wrote:Might want to check your sitting posture again. A correct form should allow one to sit comfortably for 40-45 minutes. It's advisable to rest your buttock on some cushion so that it's a few inches higher than your knees. This would give better blood circulation in the lower body. The 2 knees should touch the ground and together with the buttock will be like 3 vertices of a triangle. Some side view images here might give the idea, notice the buttock should rest on the edge of the cushion, not the center. An alternative is to get those wooden meditation bench from Amazon.com and sit in the Japanese style. The bench would also help keep the buttock a few inches higher than the knees..
I think the posture is the root cause for my pain at my left leg. Since I cannot sit in the half or full lotus posture, I choose the burmese posture with my left leg place at the front: http://www.openmindzennaples.com/apps/p ... =121359128" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In doing so, my right knee can touch the ground and almost no discomfort will happen on the right leg during meditation. But there is always some small space between my left knee and the ground, and hence the left leg 1st become numb and then turns into intense pain. The situation can be improved when I sit on my bed with a cusion under my butt. But recently I choose to just sit on the ground without cusion becasue of some silly reasons. 1st, I have attended 2 retreat in last 2 months and find that I cannot maintain a "satisfactory sitting duration" becasue the "bed+cusion under my butt configuration" cannot be maintained at the meditaion hall. So I told myself if I can sit very well just on the ground, I won't have any problem in retreat later. Secondly after ending a 10-year relationship with my girlfriend, I would like to become a monk under the forest tradition after my parents pass away (But I guess they can still live for 30 years! How come a man who is under 30, I will be 29 years old in June btw, can estimate or expect the future after another 30 yeas? Am I crazy?)

I guess if I could loss some weight that would help becasue the legs can be brought closer towords myself and hence both knees can touch the ground.

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Some good advice above about avoiding injury due to incorrect posture. If you practise walking meditation before sitting pain may be less likely to arise, and easier to bear because the mind is less distracted.

See also this advice by Chanmyay Sayādaw on Pain and Patience, and this by Sayādaw U Paṇḍita on Patience and Perseverance and Courageous Effort.
Thanks Bhante! I should also develop the patience towards the pain.

soapy3
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by soapy3 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:36 am

A fool from HK wrote: But sometimes the pain arise very fast. If I sit on the floor without a cusion, it usually arise within 20 minutes, and then the mind cannot remain still.
Use a cushion! Almost everyone does. You don't get brownie points for not doing it.

You don't lose anything by sitting in a straight backed chair either and the leg pain will not be an issue. Make it more ergonomic and put a rolled up cushy towel between the back of your chair and the small of your back.

The only posture "must" is to keep your spine straight and relaxed.

soapy3
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by soapy3 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:41 am

A fool from HK wrote: I think the posture is the root cause for my pain at my left leg. Since I cannot sit in the half or full lotus posture, I choose the burmese posture with my left leg place at the front: http://www.openmindzennaples.com/apps/p ... =121359128" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In doing so, my right knee can touch the ground and almost no discomfort will happen on the right leg during meditation. But there is always some small space between my left knee and the ground
Fold up a soft cushion or a towel and put it between your left knee and the ground. Your leg will loosen up as your relax and eventually you will not need a cushion under your left leg.

Invest in a good zafu and zabuton. Spend a little extra for a well made set. I've had mine for decades and it has made a huge difference in my practice.

If your knees are reasonably loose you can try a meditation bench with a thick cushion between your knees and the floor. Those benches make it almost effortless to keep your back erect. You can also buy pretty durable and portable folding benches that will fit in a suit case.

A fool from HK
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by A fool from HK » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:45 am

soapy3 wrote:
A fool from HK wrote: But sometimes the pain arise very fast. If I sit on the floor without a cusion, it usually arise within 20 minutes, and then the mind cannot remain still.
Use a cushion! Almost everyone does. You don't get brownie points for not doing it.

You don't lose anything by sitting in a straight backed chair either and the leg pain will not be an issue. Make it more ergonomic and put a rolled up cushy towel between the back of your chair and the small of your back.

The only posture "must" is to keep your spine straight and relaxed.
Thanks! Ajahn Brahm also told me to sit on the chair and floor alternately during the retreat in March-2015.
Btw what means by "brownie points " here? I failed in English in public exam!

A fool from HK
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Re: How to handle the pain during sitting meditation?

Post by A fool from HK » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:48 am

soapy3 wrote:
A fool from HK wrote: I think the posture is the root cause for my pain at my left leg. Since I cannot sit in the half or full lotus posture, I choose the burmese posture with my left leg place at the front: http://www.openmindzennaples.com/apps/p ... =121359128" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In doing so, my right knee can touch the ground and almost no discomfort will happen on the right leg during meditation. But there is always some small space between my left knee and the ground
Fold up a soft cushion or a towel and put it between your left knee and the ground. Your leg will loosen up as your relax and eventually you will not need a cushion under your left leg.

Invest in a good zafu and zabuton. Spend a little extra for a well made set. I've had mine for decades and it has made a huge difference in my practice.

If your knees are reasonably loose you can try a meditation bench with a thick cushion between your knees and the floor. Those benches make it almost effortless to keep your back erect. You can also buy pretty durable and portable folding benches that will fit in a suit case.
Thanks, I might try the suggestion later!

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